Tripe Parmigiana and More at Proof on Main

The meal I most eagerly anticipated in Louisville, and the one I enjoyed most, was a quick one at closing time at Proof on Main. Just prior to my travel to Louisville, I was reading Esquire‘s list of best new restaurants for 2008, and saw that Corbett’s (An American Place) was listed. In researching the restaurant, I noticed Proof on Main had garnered the same honor in 2006, and was immediately drawn to their menu. (I hope to get to Corbett’s another time.) The main attraction: Monday’s daily special of Tripe “Parmigiana.” Had to have it!

What I didn’t realize upon entering is that Proof on Main is inside the 21c Museum Hotel. The restaurant itself houses some fascinating contemporary art, but during dinner it’s nice to take a break and stroll through the main museum, which is open 24 hours. (You’ll need to do this, anyway, to get to the bathroom, with the men’s bathroom really something special.) I found the dining room to be upscale and yet comfortable – smart and stimulating.

This is one of those restaurants where solo dining is a detriment, as it’s impossible to try many of the tempting dishes. Also, business matters meant that I couldn’t get there until just before the 10pm closing time, so I didn’t necessarily want to fill up on too much food at that late hour. I had a hunch the tripe would be perfect, and I picked out an order of Brussels sprouts as a side dish. The tripe is boiled for 6-8 hours in water, vanilla bean and vinegar, followed by braising action with San Marzano tomatoes, carrots, onions, red wine and aromatics before being baked a bit at 600 degrees. Very tasty (though not with the tripe texture I typically desire), and served with some fettunta which I used to sop up the sauce.

And the Brussels sprouts were fabulous! They were perfectly cooked, boosted by bacon and a little fruity sweetness. (The kitchen has been using either currants or cranberries.) I loved the dish so much that I tried to replicate it tonight as a side to some roasted chicken and vegetables. Close, but I must be missing some secret ingredient. I’ll work on the recipe, or ask for help. Great restaurants are stimulating and inspiring in this way. I’m thrilled to have had this brief experience at Proof on Main, and recommend it highly while hoping to return myself some day – with more time to see the museum, and perhaps a stay at the hotel!

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2 Responses to “Tripe Parmigiana and More at Proof on Main”

  1. November 17, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    Hi Jay – The miracles of modern technology (aka Google Alerts) helped me stumble across your blog. I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed your meal at Proof. Thanks so much for the kind words. I also wanted to pass along a gift from Chef Paley – his Brussels sprout recipe. I’m glad you expressed interest in it b/c I’ve been dying to make them at home myself :) Happy cooking!

    Proof on Main Brussels Sprouts
    serves 4
    2lbs brussels sprouts
    1lb house made pancetta or store bought thick sliced pancetta or bacon, diced
    1 cup dried cranberries
    salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1 cup sweet vermouth
    1/4 cup fresh squeezd lemon juice
    1 cup fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

    1. Put a large saute pan on high heat and add the pancetta first to begin rendering out the fat.
    2. Once the bacon starts to brown and some fat is rendered in the pan add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper keeping in mind the bacon is salty already.
    3. Once the sprouts start to brown a little, place the pan in a 450 oven to finish the roasting. It is important the pan regains its heat before taking off the direct flame. Placing the sprouts in the pan all at once will immediately drop the temperature of the pan and the sprouts will steam in the oven, not roast if the pan is not blazing hot when placed in the oven.
    4. After about ten minutes places the pan back on the stove. It is good to toss or stir the sprouts while they are roasting in the oven to get even browning.
    5. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and reduce until the vermouth thickens and glazes the sprouts.
    6. To finish: add lemon juice, parsley, dried cranberries and check for seasoning.


    Monica Erskine
    21c Museum Hotels

  2. admin
    November 17, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Thanks, Monica. This is fabulous! I see what I need to fine-tune, and will try to get more Brussels sprouts at the next farmers market to give this another go.

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